Equipment must be in safe condition and suitable for the activity.
Structural strength needs to be sufficient to withstand the intended use and to minimise the likelihood of entrapment.
Cockpits must be clear of attachments and smooth on the edges to enable the student to exit quickly.
Carrying points at the stern and bow need to be permanent and of sufficient strength to be used in rescues and boat retrievals. Painters are not recommended due to the danger of rope entanglement in the event of a capsize.
All craft must contain sufficient fixed permanent upthrust to prevent the canoe from sinking if capsized. Kayaks need buoyancy fitted to bulkheads fore and aft. Craft should be matched to the activity undertaken.
Repair methods and equipment will vary according to the construction materials of the craft. Temporary repairs may be undertaken as long as the structural integrity of the craft is maintained. Temporary repairs are to be replaced with more permanent repairs as soon as possible.
Helmets specifically designed for water activities must be worn when participating in a canoeing activity on moving water or where the activity involves entry or exit through the surf zone. Otherwise, helmets may be provided after consideration of:
- students’ canoeing experience and skills
- the risk of participants sustaining a head injury due to the nature of the activities being undertaken during the session (eg. running on top of the canoes or using paddles in games).
Helmets specifically designed for water activities must comply with the following safety characteristics of lightweight protective helmets:
- holes to allow for water drainage
- adjustable chin strap
- hard outer shell
- firm fit, either by use of an adjustable harness securely attached to the helmet or a fixed helmet in a range of sizes
- either foam padded or constructed with a suspension harness
- capacity to float.
Paddles should be in good working order, be buoyant, appropriate to the activity and the correct length for the paddler. Spare paddles must be carried on all river trips.
Personal flotation devices
In all waters, staff and students must wear a securely fitted Australian Standard Type 2 personal flotation device (PFD) which complies with Victorian maritime safety regulations. See: Transport Safety Victoria - Personal Flotation Devices
Exemptions from the Victorian regulations for the wearing of PFD’s have been granted for certain situations. Exemption categories can be found at
Yachting Victoria - Exemption from MSV Regulations for Club Boats
First aid kits
First aid kits appropriate to the location and level of training must be carried.
Rescue equipment that is suitable for the location or trip and category of water conditions must be in good condition and readily accessible. Staff must be proficient in its use.
Spray decks must be fitted with release tapes or toggles and may be used in all categories of water conditions. Students must only use spray decks after direct tuition, practice and close supervision of their capacity to exit the craft.